Posts Tagged steve jobs

Sunday Column (402)

push-yourself

It is still dark outside. The street lanterns aren’t on, yet the air is hot and muggy. I haven’t had breakfast. Which sounds like a normal start for me, giving I am up early anyway, was the start to my day on Wednesday and Thursday. A quick weight lifting routine followed by my meditation, a mad dash to catch the 6:30 train. Conductor strike, so any train before 7 am should get me a seat. And it did. Still a mess. I cannot understand and will never understand the unions. I am grateful for my job, my opportunities given in life and just want to get on with what I am doing. So why do others impact the life of thousands of people to fight for what they have or haven’t got. Isn’t that almost comparable to terrorism, where a few mad people impact the life of others to alert people of their situation? Maybe a strike is less radical. However, same selfishness. Anyway, trains operated better than anticipated, let’s move on! I can change my routine for a couple of days. I am winning.

What does it mean for me? Inconvenience. But foremost it means that I haven’t seen the kids after their first day back at school. Can’t kiss them good night. Cannot chat with them in the morning. This strike made me change my workout routine. Some might say ‘poor you’, but hey, can I not expect to get the service I pay 4 grand (that’s 4,000 sterling!) for to be half way decent. What a fuck up! I could expect a bit more.

The challenge is that we work within our thinking boundaries. I mean, we decide how far we stretch ourselves. We are in control of our feelings and ambitions. So when we are going into the strike thing, we know that we are out of control. We play their rules and we are winning. Still. That’s achievement. That’s making it happen. We need to always look outside our comfort zone, make things happen, go some places. I effing love that. Push yourself daily!

image

But let’s move on. The commute got better in another sense. I treated myself to some new wireless Bose noise cancellation headphones. The main difference to my old ones is that they are wireless. It is easier to wear them, walk around in them and connect them to two devices at the same time. I am shutting off the world around me if I want or listen to music. Yo Yo Ma is a classical cellist whose CD I bought this week. Steve Jobs himself allegedly said to him ‘you are the closest proof of the existence of God‘, as he is an amazing musician. I enjoy him playing Bach, yet I seem to enjoy a lot of things Steve enjoyed 😉 I don’t believe he has been gone for almost five years, which is when my love relationship with Apple started.

This week wasn’t different. After my car manufacturer, Skoda, revealed an SUV which is our car on stilts, I am keen to see in real life and maybe exchange ours for it in a couple of years. The new Skoda Kodiaq looks really nice and seems to have the space of our car. However, my other brand, Apple, revealed new products this week.

00-skoda-kodiaq

Whilst the innovation around the iPhone 7 and it finally being water tight are nice, the main thing for me was the watch. Water tightness, particularly using the microphone to keep the water out. GPS. So finally a smart watch and fitness tracker in one. The wait was worth it. I ordered mine on Friday. 8:01 🙂 It is mind bobbling to see the advancement of technology. About 20 years ago we worked off computers that had less features and speed than the watches we can wear on our wrists. That’s amazing. If we fast forward 20 years I would be curious to see what our kids wear, or when we retire. An implanted chip that communicates directly with our thoughts? Probably.

I try to embrace it all but sometimes it goes to my head. I wonder what is going on in my kid’s mind when he wakes me having nightmares. I see the world, in my job this is most noticeable, from a different perspective. I enjoy that very much as the input and learning are so very different. So by using technology and trying to understand what is going on and what is possible, we are pushing boundaries. I am trying to encourage the boys to think big. I said to the youngest that someday he might just go to the moon on a train as he said he wouldn’t want to go in a rocket. And he might. One day, a flying train, might just get him there. And he asked about gravity and why things fall. I love those questions and trying to encourage them to think outside the box. What if they would just come up with a little bit of technology that will make all our lives easier and better, this planet better to live on. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Nelson Mandela said, that the most powerful weapon in the world is education. That must be the key to mankind. Educate. Educate your children and encourage them to learn, to think and question. And to push boundaries. To expand their horizon. To make a dent in the universe.

nelson-mandela

Whilst Apple, no doubt, is a big corporate, the Steve Jobs thought of changing the world seems to still be there. Changing the world, making amazing products people like to buy seems to be a call for the engineers at Apple. Details like the above mentioned microphone that pushes out water, or the ear buds that work only when they detect your ear based on temperature. They are pushing boundaries. I like that.

In that sense, have a great week. Push your boundaries. Question every day if you can do a little better in what you are doing. Be better. Learn a new skill or optimise your day. Make it happen. Take massive action.

Have a great one!
Volker

, , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (337)

This week I watched the movie about Stephen Hawkings’ life and subsequently read his autobiography. When I was young, my brother who studied physics, read his first book, a brief history of time. While Hawkings gets a lots of attention due to him sitting in a wheelchair, also living longer than anyone anticipated, I like him explaining science in a common way.

He must have patience, speaking/typing at a speed of three words per minute. Whilst this would be difficult for most, I am personally someone that runs at a million miles an hour. Recently I have been practising to take my time, to meditate, to slow down. This helps me a lot. Yet, reading Hawkings’ book I wonder what else is out there to explore? Should I read Einstein’s book? Or should I go back to university? I have those thoughts regularly, often think an academic career would have been nice, yet I believe that I am doing well with what I am doing and I am very happy with my life.

black hole

My next book however needs to tick the box of a more intellectual work than the last one. More research. However, unlikely I philosophise about the universe, black holes and time travel. I am writing an eBook at the moment which is more of a summary, similar to the last one, yet embarking on a bigger project for publication later in 2016. We shall see, it might not be the phd thesis though 😉

Ever since I was a child I refused to think about what could be beyond the universe. What is in space and what does it do? Will we ever find out? Did we become humans by pure chance? Is there a god? Latter is the only question I could answer for myself, and by common definition the answer for me is ‘no’. Yet I believe in energy, infinite greater conscious, a common unconscious everyone can tap into. Some might call it god though.

Other thoughts this week are around music. For many years I have been struggling to expand on the music I am listening to, listened to few new artists, realising that I am missing out on potentially nice stuff. The above mentioned rush doesn’t help. With the addition of another Sonos system to my beloved spare bedroom and the arrival of Apple Music, subject to them two integrating, I am keen on changing my approach and exploring new music. For many it is difficult to understand but I am running on iOS. I like what is easy to use cross device, for work, for pleasure and it being fully integrated. So the more this ecosystem develops, the more I will be sucked into it. Hence only Apple Music is appealing to me, Spotify never was. Silly, I know.

I guess Steve Jobs’ approach works. A closed system that works 99% of the time, or at least more often than other systems. Windows seems to crash by far more often, and maybe Windows 10 will change it all. Or Android for the masses. Is any approach just for the data or as Steve said about user experience.
I (like to) believe that Apple is good, and puts customer and their experience first. Ever since I know, and my wife has done it, that you can buy your new phone and renew your mobile contract through the Apple Shop, I love it. The best of both worlds. Give back your old phone, get a voucher, get a new phone, get a contract and…the Apple service on top. You can’t beat that. No upsell in the Vodafone shop, no silly calls, no waiting for a phone to return to one of the many phone ‘recycling’ sites.

Maybe I am a bit naive. Maybe I just like it simple. Life is complicated enough to not worry about certain things, and having things that work, and not thinking what is beyond our universe, just keeps it simple 🙂

Have a great week,
Volker

, , , , , ,

1 Comment

Sunday Column (321)

I fell in love twice this week. The first time was unexpected. We planned a night out with work and went to watch Sweeney Todd, in the ‘Harrington Pie and Mash Shop’ – which literally was what it said on the tin. A fantastic show, sitting on benches, watching a great display of this classic play.

Unfortunately it was so intimate that I couldn’t sneak out during the 2nd half to catch the second last train home. Hence I left in the interval. I was a bit gutted yet promised myself to visit a play again soon. Maybe in Brighton or Haywards Heath. Did I re-discover my love for ‘old fashioned’ culture?

The second time I fell in love was, after endless repeats, the Bach Cello Suite No.1. I was made aware that Steve Jobs chose that piece for his funeral. So I downloaded it, curious whether I would like it. I knew it, heard it before many times. Whilst it sounds cheesy, it gave this piece of music a new meaning knowing that Steve loved it. Or maybe he didn’t and someone just chose it for his funeral. Not sure. The story sells. And the piece is lovely 😉

Valuing classic plays and classical music is one of those amazing things we don’t appreciate enough. Maybe I only notice it more with age. To be able to immerse ourselves in a full blown artistic performance, enjoying ourselves, soaking up the performance or enthusiasm playing a piece of music that is many years old. Yet, after all those years it has some fantastic life left, a touch of love and greatness, allowing for us to indulge. I love immersing myself into music.

There of course were more things I fell in love with. The breakfasts I had with my boys. Hearing their previous day’s stories, experience and what kind of ‘card’ they got with their sweeties. Sharing their experience of exploring the world and making their little experience matter more to me than things that matter when I step outside the house. This love of them and love from them is so pure one cannot touch it, describe it or put it into words, a play or piece of music. This is unique.

mark twain

Once one realises this unconditional love, inner bond with one’s children, it is like realising the ‘why one lives’. There are two important days in your life. One is the day you were born. That was this week too. The other is when you realise why. And that happened the last few months too.

Often one doesn’t realise but when one starts examining what makes you happy. And you realise it isn’t the house or the car or any material value. It is the sheer love and happiness you receive by accepting the challenge with your family each day. Giving your boys undivided attention, being with them in the now, responding in real time to their requests.

Being able to realise the love you experience when you do, is the moment you are happy, and being able to cherish the moment and not realising it when it is far too late, is a gift. This gift is greater than any present one could receive. You cannot measure it in money terms.

Now for me this comes also with a few conflicts and challenges. That is around commitments. Commitments that doesn’t allow me to be there in the moment; things that stop me from concentrating and being there in the moment. Things, that quite frankly, pre-occupy my mind. With an unfinished shed, lots of transformational changes in my life and at work, this can be quite a challenging time. Yet the shed is almost finished, things sorted and day to day life can slowly creep in again.

Until the next time, when I realise I am pushing boundaries again.
That’s what I do.
That is what I enjoy!

It has been a fantastic week. A good week. With challenges. Yet with satisfactions, love and affection.
Have a great week ahead my friends.

Yours,

Volker

, , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (289)

There have been a few things that went through my head this week. Starting last weekend with the final decision to get a dog on Monday. So coming mid October we are able to pick up “Rosie“. I am excited, ecstatic yet apprehensive. When you wanted something for 30 years, and when you were always told that you cannot have it, and then had your wife saying that it isn’t feasible for years and then the day comes that her and you agree it is a good thing to add a dog to the family – this is a big day. That is a dream come true. But also a reality come true. I can no longer say “I always wanted a dog”, I now will “have a dog”.

To a certain extend, yet with less people talking about how many nappies you have to change and how this will affect your life, it is like having another child. And it is interesting to see how people give you advice. Some are very pragmatic and tell you about their own experience and what they never thought of. That is appreciated. Then there are those people that never had a dog and think they tell you all about it. Those are the annoying ones. And then you get the odd comment that a dog needs walking and you cannot take it in a plane. Those comments I am not sure about; they are either sarcastic or give you reason to doubt those people’s input.

Making the decision to get a dog is not easy. For me it was a childhood dream and also for my kids to grow up with a dog. This is particular true for them being as they are scared and not used to dogs. But foremost this will be a true companion, someone that is loyal, someone to take for a walk, someone wanting to please you and be on your side. And your wife’s side. And your kid’s side. A best friend, play and sports partner.

Enough about it. I am very much looking forward to it.

jobs ppt

The picture on the left got a bit of attention on Linkedin this week. I am not 100% sure why and I notice me using Powerpoint solely because that is what the company uses. But overall, I am normally on the whiteboard, drawing things up and discussing things with clients. That is more fun and it shows I know what I am talking about. Also it is a lot more engaging.

Moving on from there I have been active working last week at dmexco, the biggest online marketing show. So this week I feel a bit under the weather. Not sure if I caught a bug from one of the 30,000 visitors or if two late nights (I don’t remember when I was last still up at 3.30 am), little sleep and a 10K run on Friday contribute to my physical state, but something clearly isn’t right. I felt a bit under the weather, slept a lot but still got up early. My legs just don’t feel like exercising. Maybe I did too much or needed a break, you never know. The travelling and late nights, constant entertaining and talking take their toll. Luckily this only happens once a year. Also, the weather has been very warm and humid for mid September, not something I overly enjoy.

Looking forward to next week I am going to be in Paris, soon Istanbul, Milan and Hamburg, yet probably another few trips to come before the end of the year. Things are at the pivotal point, so the hard work is paying off. I enjoy what I am doing, and the industry is accepting what we are doing. But I don’t want to write too much about my job today.

Everytime I write my blog post, I am looking at the word count in the lower left corner, how it starts adding up. At 400 words I think I better come to an end and by 630, about now, I believe I should come to an end.

I don’t want to bore you with my thoughts too much, despite knowing that most of you enjoy reading it. This is a huge compliment. Speaking of compliments, the biggest one I got this week was from a lady I don’t even know. She said “my dad used to speak a lot about you, I remember your name” – that is nice to hear. I cannot go into further details (not because of the lady) but because of a surprise. I might reveal it in a few weeks time.

Now we visited Rosie again this weekend. It is nice to see Colin bonding and Rohan liking the dog. Also nice to see Rosie myself.

Have a great week ahead,
Volker

, , , , , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (285)

Steve Jobs loved Bob Dylan. I started listening to him after reading Steve’s biography and recently heard that the first album he ever listened to was Blood on the tracks. So I downloaded it in his memory and realised I really enjoy this album.

Going back in time. Looking at the counter culture in SF in the 70ies. Hippies. Campervans and independence. Life was good. Life is great. We just need to make it happen. Yet I am not living in the past, quite the opposite. I am living in the now with a strong future outlook. We can only change things in the now, laying the foundation of the future.

Another week passed with 5 am starts. It is getting better to get up. One morning I go running, 5K, and the next I do some circuits and work, or as on Tuesday end up watching postman Pat with the boys. I don’t do this to be super productive only but to gain back time. I come home from work around half 7 on a normal day. Before I know it I spend the evening not doing much, having my tea and go to bed at 10; staying up longer results in me watching rubbish on TV, my brain just ain’t working that late anymore.

IMG_3014

So I gain 90 minutes waking minutes. Enough time to exercise and shower or to write on a blog post or review a few articles. I even fixed a squeaking door at 5 am, whatever comes to mind, whiteboard sessions etc. There is plenty to do. This also means I can start working on the train or follow up on anything I didn’t do in the morning. If I keep up this routine, I won’t compromise on sleep (6-7 hours are plenty), I get enough exercise (3×30 min/week + bike at weekend), and I should be able to get more things done. However, the transition period is tough, it takes 60 days to form a new habit. Wish me luck.

For the next few months I am hoping to be more proactive over at tidWOWs which is my productivity site. You won’t see much, but might have noticed that I published a book on productivity which also was available for free this week. Plan is to move it into the public domain and make it available for study, research and public editing, very similar to a Wikipedia. I will of course keep you posted on progress.

My wife and kids were visiting grannie in Scotland over the last week and I had the house to myself. It is quiet without them, yet it is nice to be able and just do what you want to do. Cleaning some bits in the fish tank late at night, turning the lights off in the hallway or leaving bits and pieces lying around as reminders. All of those things that ain’t possible with small people being around. And of course a PJ day. A day filled of movies, pizza, snoozes, doing nothing and plenty of it. I got bored eventually but still enjoyed the freedom to do it.

That’s really it. Not the most exciting week, but hey it is still holiday season. We are moving into autumn. It is getting colder, the bike stand is out and the fire has been on a few times. My most favourite season.

Have a great week,
Volker

, , , , ,

1 Comment

#jobsmovie – trailer

,

No Comments

We are living in a fast pace environment…

….even Steve Jobs said so after leaving Apple, working at Next. That was in 1994 and technology has only accelerated since.

, , ,

No Comments

Sunday Column (177)

Writing my Sunday Column is more a “Friday on my way home from work task”. I often write it up on Fridays and then add the weekend as and if it is interesting. This Friday I was off and thanks to my wife got some work done on the house, spend less time with the kids than anticipated but instead got some “me time”. So that was nice. Time for me to return the favour some time soon.

Anyway, this week my thoughts were all over the shop. 20120720-152536.jpg Yes, this picture tells a story of an excellent wine, and a good chat my wife and I had over this bottle. Direction. Family. House. Life in general. My Buddhist friend always said whatever you decide in life you will get the right challenges and end up where the universe wants you to be. The greater good? The greater god? The great unconscious in the universe?

Actually I was asking to meet a few folk this week and were thinking about meeting someone I haven’t seen for a long time. A day later I met him in the tube, then got a phone call from someone else I was thinking of. Maybe weird but beautiful. You ask for something and the universe replies.

It made me think if everyone says they are happy with 2 million as a lottery win, then maybe I should ask for 10 million 😉 You know what I mean? Maybe I get a tad too crazy out there but I believe in the power of unconscious and that all answers are out there in the universe ready to be tapped on.

Stephen Covey died this week. Anthony Robbins wrote a post about the 7 habits of highly effective people. One of my first management training books I ever read. A no brainier really. Well done, Stephen, you left this world having made a difference.

This reminds me of Steve Jobs. 20120720-153632.jpg I got his “making a dent in the universe quote” on the back of my personal business cards. I love it. It becomes a mantra. To make a difference, to be better. Not to make more money or be more crazy but to leave this world in a better state than when you arrived. If everyone could make a small dent, a small improvement, we would all be better off!

For me this is bringing up my two boys to be good and friendly citizens, smart and hopeful capable of making their dent. We somehow carry a responsibility with us. A responsibility to maintain and improve. I want to make this dent. And I will too. Not quite yet but eventually.

So you see I was thinking a lot. I was given some time. The weather is still awful. Our house got a new wardrobe, linoleum in the garage, some paint and a hole in the kitchen ceiling repaired. And my weight bench arrived too.

We are getting there.

The weekend was good to. We went to a networking family event in Kent courtesy to Fortune Cookies, and we went to Brighton to get my wife’s iPhone repaired. The weather was great and we spend good family time together.

Exciting times 🙂

All the best for next week,
Volker

, , ,

No Comments

Obsession

You all know I have an obsession with work, productivity and motivation. And since last year I sold my soul to Apple.

Mixing all that results in a little motivational poster/frame on my desk.

One of many, maybe from others, to come. I think I start creating my own homemade collection now.

And certainly a new obsession.

20120508-184304.jpg

, ,

No Comments

Love what you do

20120429-092601.jpg

,

No Comments